Naropa University Receives Prestigious Award from Gap Year Association

November 28, 2018 (Boulder, CO)—Naropa University received the “Advancing the Gap Year Movement” award at the Gap Year Association’s annual convention. The recognition and award was given for Naropa’s unique offering of LeapYear + Naropa, one of the only partnerships–and certainly the most unique–to integrate a gap year experience into a four-year—rather than five-year—undergraduate degree path.

Every year, the Gap Year Association awards individuals and organizations that have accomplished outstanding achievements in the gap year community worldwide. Categories for recognition include excellence in research, advancing the gap year movement, expanding accessibility, innovation, and lifetime achievement. Naropa University was recognized with the award at the most recent ceremonies, held in November, 2018, in Orlando, Florida.

Naropa received this honor as a result of the recent purchase of the LeapYear program, the unique and comprehensive gap year program that offers a full year of college credit to students ages 17-23 who seek an alternative to traditional education. Specifically, the Boulder based, Buddhist-inspired university was recognized “for being the first college to run and operate their own gap year experience.”

The Gap Year Association noted, “Many other colleges have run gap year offerings, but outsourced that programming to other providers. Naropa represents an advancement in how colleges relate to gap years and gap year students.”

The purchase was an important step in the evolution of education in America, as it makes Naropa the first American institution of higher learning that has integrated the experiential and developmental benefits of a gap year into a four-year undergraduate journey. With the addition of the LeapYear program, Naropa has expanded funding options for all students seeking structured experiential and international learning options in their first year of college.

LeapYear, which integrates three months of group travel and service, a three-month internship, and inner-focused US-based retreats, gives students the opportunity to discover a personally relevant context for their own higher education path, early in their college career. Other unique aspects of the program include formal rites of passage for a conscious transition into adulthood and an emphasis on living in community throughout the year. The program may also be attended by non-credit students, or students looking to complete high school in an alternative way.

“Naropa University has long been committed to offering experiential learning together with mindfulness and compassion training to a diverse student body,” said Naropa President Charles G. Lief, when the purchase was announced last June. “LeapYear shares our mission and we are delighted that the founders have entrusted their wonderful program to us. We are also excited that LeapYear students will now start their program in Colorado and have access to Naropa’s exceptional faculty throughout their learning journey.”

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About the Gap Year AssociationFounded in 2012, the Gap Year Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit accreditation and standards-setting organization for gap years that is recognized as such by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. The mission of the association is To maximize the potential of young adults, through accessible and meaningful gap year opportunities. The Association collaboratively pioneers research on its outcomes, as well as serves as an information and advocacy hub for university admissions personnel and educational counselors.

About Naropa University: Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom traditions and traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Media inquiries, please call Kelly Watt, Director of Marketing and Admissions, at (303) 546-5285, or email Kelly.

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